Goodreads Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors discussion

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message 1: by Keiji (last edited Sep 25, 2010 09:57PM) (new)

Keiji Miashin Let's try a prompt and discussion and see how it works out.

Discussion
Let's center our first discussion around about something crucial. Location, locale, setting, geography. All those nifty things that fill in the otherwise empty whitespace that your characters would be existing in.
Some questions to get things flowing:
How do you develop your settings?
Do you usually write about areas that you are familiar with or have at least visited, or is it just as easy for you to write about an entirely made up local?
How do you connect, and relate, you characters to the settings that they are living in?

Feel free to answer these questions, pose your own, and talk. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. The idea here is to share thoughts and techniques in the hopes of gaining some perspective.

Prompt
I wanted to pick something unique that no one's probably done before. So for our first prompt we'll be going with a Russian Song. I'm going to provide the translated lyrics as well as a youtube link to the actual song.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to be inspired by this song to a short piece of writing. Anything goes, from a snapshot out of one of your works, characters introspection, or semi-poetry even. You can be inspired by the melody, a specific line of the song, maybe even just it's title. Take anything related to the song and write. The only limits are that your work qualify as either sci-fi or fantasy (and some allowance for historical fantasy and modern paranormal as well).

After you've written something post it, or a link to it, here so that the group can go read it. Hey, maybe you'll inspire somebody else?

You're work'll be reviewed and critiqued. So let's set some ground rules.
1. No insulting each other. Feel free to state your opinion of the work, but saying things about the authors is out of bounds.
2. The goal is to learn. Thus pointing flaws out is cool, pointing flaws out and offering possible methods of improvement is super duper special awesome.

You can choose to keep your review private and not leave and comments here. Keep in mind, though, that part of the exercise is to learn how to talk about the writing of others as well as our own, as that too will improve our own work.

Two simple rules, hopefully we'll not need anymore than that. Also everyone that participates gets a point. Why? Just 'cause. Hopefully, if this becomes a regular thing, we can have a bit of a leaderboard going.

Now for your prompt:

"Don't Shoot"
By Kristina Prilepina
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kma2Xg...

Don't shoot, I'm so few years
Lose my bloody trail
Don't kill my road's end
Let go, let me go

Free wind, help me
I 'm so hurt and enemies behind
Hide my smell, I ask, save me.
In my legs no more strength

Older brother wind, don't leave
I'm so scared, I pray to be saved.
My children are waiting for me back home,
Wind, wind, you stay with me.

With me ...

Native sky... bottomless ...
Rain would be... rain ...
Save me, save...

Don't call too early, let the chest wounds ...
Don't call too early, let the chest wounds ...


message 2: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 97 comments As an author I have a blog which is almost completely devoted to discussions of various topics in the craft of writing. Most author blogs have that tendency.

Trying to explain the unexplainable in my newest blog post. http://authorguy.wordpress.com/


message 3: by Keiji (new)

Keiji Miashin Indeed, but with most such blogs it's always the author talking down to his readers. The idea with this isn't to 'explain' anything to anybody but to discuss and work through exercises as a group.

Working in a group is unique. Instead of telling someone how you work and think, you're talking with other people about how they and you do it. Why and how all the varied methods work. Groups allow you to see things from a new perspective.

Or at least, such was my reasoning when I made this offer.


message 4: by Lisa M (new)

Lisa M | 8 comments Both sound very interesting. I would enjoy those. :)


message 5: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (TomStone) | 18 comments I would like to participate because I need all the help I can get. Let me know when and where this thing is going to kick off.


message 6: by Keiji (new)

Keiji Miashin I thought we could do it here in this group, maybe this very discussion thread, unless the mods say no or someone else knows of a better place/method.

Suggestions? Or is here good?

If we do do it in this discussion I would edit the first post regularly with the current topic/prompt.


message 7: by Keiji (last edited Sep 25, 2010 09:55PM) (new)

Keiji Miashin Sorry for double post but let's try a prompt and discussion and see how it works out.

Discussion
Let's center our first discussion around about something crucial. Location, locale, setting, geography. All those nifty things that fill in the otherwise empty whitespace that your characters would be existing in.
Some questions to get things flowing:
How do you develop your settings?
Do you usually write about areas that you are familiar with or have at least visited, or is it just as easy for you to write about an entirely made up local?
How do you connect, and relate, you characters to the settings that they are living in?

Feel free to answer these questions, pose your own, and talk. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. The idea here is to share thoughts and techniques in the hopes of gaining some perspective.

Prompt
I wanted to pick something unique that no one's probably done before. So for our first prompt we'll be going with a Russian Song. I'm going to provide the translated lyrics as well as a youtube link to the actual song.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to be inspired by this song to a short piece of writing. Anything goes, from a snapshot out of one of your works, characters introspection, or semi-poetry even. You can be inspired by the melody, a specific line of the song, maybe even just it's title. Take anything related to the song and write. The only limits are that your work qualify as either sci-fi or fantasy (and some allowance for historical fantasy and modern paranormal as well).

After you've written something post it, or a link to it, here so that the group can go read it. Hey, maybe you'll inspire somebody else?

You're work'll be reviewed and critiqued. So let's set some ground rules.
1. No insulting each other. Feel free to state your opinion of the work, but saying things about the authors is out of bounds.
2. The goal is to learn. Thus pointing flaws out is cool, pointing flaws out and offering possible methods of improvement is super duper special awesome.

You can choose to keep your review private and not leave and comments here. Keep in mind, though, that part of the exercise is to learn how to talk about the writing of others as well as our own, as that too will improve our own work.

Two simple rules, hopefully we'll not need anymore than that. Also everyone that participates gets a point. Why? Just 'cause. Hopefully, if this becomes a regular thing, we can have a bit of a leaderboard going.

Now for your prompt:

"Don't Shoot"
By Kristina Prilepina
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kma2Xg...

Don't shoot, I'm so few years
Lose my bloody trail
Don't kill my road's end
Let go, let me go

Free wind, help me
I 'm so hurt and enemies behind
Hide my smell, I ask, save me.
In my legs no more strength

Older brother wind, don't leave
I'm so scared, I pray to be saved.
My children are waiting for me back home,
Wind, wind, you stay with me.

With me ...

Native sky... bottomless ...
Rain would be... rain ...
Save me, save...

Don't call too early, let the chest wounds ...
Don't call too early, let the chest wounds ...


message 8: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (TomStone) | 18 comments OK. Guess I'll jump in here. I wrote the following short piece based on my impressions from the writing prompt. It took about thirty minutes total and what you see was completed just prior to uploading. Let's call it,

The Raid

I suck in the cold air and it hurts my chest but there is no time to think about it. Must move away across the frozen fields to the shelter of the icy creek. There I can work my way to the draw where the rains run. I can work my way back from there, back to the ridge above home. Are the children all right? Have they been captured, or worse?

The north wind covers my scent, this I know, but there is nothing to stem the flow of blood. They can follow my bloody trail. It shows red on the snow like a dotted line that says follow me, here I have ran.

The wound is there on my right side throbbing and dripping, begging for attention. I shut myself off to the pain and focus on the trail ahead. The path along the creek is steep and I slip more than once, nearly falling into the icy flow, until I reach the wide cut. Up the draw I go, behind the trees and through the brush that grabs at me, slowing my progress. I am weary but must press on for my children's sake. A quick prayer to give me strength and a wish for rain to wash away my trace.

I don't deserve this. I've done nothing to harm those who came for me. They dropped from the wintry skies without warning like unearthly invaders. I hate them. I hate them so much.

The ridge is above me and, staying low, I crawl the remaining distance on my belly oblivious to the snowy earth. Below and across the whitened field, they have bundled my children and I see them squirm as they are carried to the invaders' ungainly craft. In defiance, I rise and allow them to see me. One points a stick and a great sound issues forth. Almost simultaneously I am knocked down. I look at the featureless clouds overhead and see my bloody breath as it mixes with the air. The wind blows through my fur and I close my eyes to sleep.

Writing Questions:

1. How do you develop your settings? Setting was derived from sample lyrics. Key words (phrases) were: wind, trail (bloody trail), scent, wounds, and children.

2. Do you usually write about areas that you are familiar with or have at least visited, or is it just as easy for you to write about an entirely made up local? I knew what I wanted to do immediately after reading the lyrics. A wintry tundra, home to wild animals, in this case, a wolf. I have experienced similar locales.

3. How do you connect, and relate, your characters to the settings that they are living in? A wolf in the tundra is a common image. Admittedly, not much imagination required for the basic idea. I briefly toyed with a science fiction idea and satisfied it by referring to the men as "invaders" dropping from the skies as well as calling the helicopter an "ungainly craft." The wolf is personified, giving the piece a bit of fantasy feel (to me, at least).


message 9: by C.C. (new)

C.C. Cole (authorcccole) | 30 comments I do a domestic violence awareness campaign with my books because I began writing after my sister died (who all of my writing's dedicated to). To me, I just make up my fantasy story, and I tried to Not write about what happened. Some of my readers say it has Everything to do with what happened. I learn a lot from my readers!!


message 10: by Keiji (new)

Keiji Miashin Welcome C. That's quite an impressive topic to handle, if I may say. I myself have a bit of discomfort writing such a story with the specific goal of awareness as I'm afraid I'll misrepresent some elements. If abuse occurs to any of my characters it's because of the natural behavior of others, not because I specifically set out a goal to write a morality story on the subject.

@Thomas: Is that short raw? If that's what you can produce without any editing/rewriting I'm rather blown away.

But thank you for participating. I do agree that animal personification falls within the realm of fantasy writing. Animals hardly think in words, the very act of trying to put words to a being that does not possess them is fantastical.

Some things that stood out to me was the identity of the speaker. Only until the very end, at the mention of fur, is there any implication that the speaker is anything other than a person. Was this intentional?

Also, for all that it's very dramatic, would a wolf land on it's back from a gunshot? Their sides are much broader than their backs so they are far more likely to end on their sides, but this is a bit of a nitpick.

Come to think of it, what had you thinking 'wolf' when you interpreted the song? I ask because I found it in relation to a piece of artwork concerning wolves, and because of that went out of my way to avoid so much as implying the animal. Now I'm curious as to why multiple people would associate it to the same animal.

Also, do tell us about the sci-fi idea you had, or its bits and pieces. Just hearing about the idea should add to the exercise.

Now as for the discussion questions. They were intended to be independent from the prompt but I like how you tied them into your work. I'm curious about the time you spent at the tundra. Were you camping or hiking?


On a separate note, I'm trying to use a Socratic method of leading the discussion. That is, instead of statements I'm trying to guide and lead people into talking with questions. I don't know how well this'll work but please don't think I'm trying to be insulting or nosy.


message 11: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (TomStone) | 18 comments Why, thank you, that's very kind of you to say so. Yes, after a bit of thought, the piece was written in a few minutes and posted without rewriting. The ending was intentional. I wanted to "reward" the reader with something that would explain the situation and provide finality rather than simply offer a slice of life.

You're right, the wolf would probably not land on its back, but I wanted the animal to be able to look into the "bottomless.. Native sky" at the end to add another reference to the writing prompt.

I don't know why a wolf came to mind. I can only guess that there was something about the imagery presented in the writing sample that caused the associations. I'm not surprised to hear that others had similar notions because the imagery is strong.

The sci-fi idea I had, but did not fully pursue, was simply an extension of what I wrote but from a human perspective. Writing from an animal's perspective lent more impact, I think.

Most of us have seen wildlife videos and mentally cataloged images of wolves in the wilderness. My personal adventures have taken me to Alaska, China, and the flat expanses of middle America during winter. Hiking, mostly, but even driving through offers vivid images. I recently read a story by Pat Whitaker (RETURNING) where he opens with scenes of wolves in Siberia. Also, CALL OF THE WILD, by Jack London.


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